Syria Rifts Loom Over G20 Summit


Syria Rifts Loom Over G20 Summit

Leaders from the G20 group of nations are set to meet in the Russian city of St Petersburg amid sharp differences over the crisis in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that military action without UN approval would be “an aggression”. But US President Barack Obama said the credibility of the international community was on the line.

Battle For Middle Ground

A new study of images apparently from the chemical attack on 21 August concludes that the rockets carrying the gas held up to 50 times more nerve agent than previously estimated, the New York Times reported.

The study was carried out by an expert in warhead design, Richard Lloyd, and Theodore Postol, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The German intelligence service, the BND, told German MPs in a confidential briefing on Wednesday that Syrian forces might have misjudged the mix of gases in the attack, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported.

This might explain why the death toll was much higher than in previous suspected attacks, the head of the BND was quoted as saying. The BBC’s Bridget Kendall, in St Petersburg, says both leaders have allies but the battle will be for the middle ground – those countries who share concern about chemical weapons but fear the consequences of military retaliation.